Wilding and Andrew Remembrance Service
Sunday 10 September 2017 will see the annual remembrance service for Flying Officer John Wilding, RCAF and Flight Sergeant John Andrew, RAF, at the junction of Wilding Road and Andrew Road, Wallingford. The Royal British Legion, who organise the service, are inviting members of the public to attend at 2.50pm for a short informal service to honour the two airmen who sacrificed their lives to save people in Wallingford.
On September 9 1944, when returning from an aborted raid over the French port of Le Havre with other aircraft of the RCAF’s 426 ‘Thunderbird’ Squadron, the Halifax bomber carrying Flying Officer John Wilding and Flight Sergeant John Andrew caught fire over Wallingford when an engine exploded.
Still carrying a full bomb load Flying Officer John Wilding, 23, ordered his crew to bail out and he and the flight engineer, Sergeant John Andrew, 22, remained on board. They flew the bomber away from the town and it crashed into fields at Newnham Murren, on the Crowmarsh Gifford side of the river.
The pilots were mentioned in dispatches for their bravery, with Wilding posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. A cairn with a plaque bearing the squadrons badge was built in 1960 at the junction of Andrew Road and Wilding Road. The Canadian flag is also flown over Wallingford Town Hall each year.